On February 25th, in Seoul, Commissioner Choi Donggyu of the Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO) and Undersecretary of Economy Mohammed Ahmed Bin Abdul Aziz Al Shehhi signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for Korea to export its patent automation system—a project valued at around USD 4.5 million, to the UAE.

This project will enable the UAE to conduct their patent and design administration (i.e., application submission, examination, registration, and fee payment) online. The KIPO-affiliated Korea Institute of Patent Information Consortium has been tasked with carrying out this project, which will begin in March and wrap up sometime in late 2016.

Korea’s patent automation system has already been provided to Mongolia, Azerbaijan, and the African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO) in the form of Official Development Assistance (ODA). The UAE, however, is the first economy to bear the entire cost of the system’s importation and establishment.

This deal was made possible as a result of Korea’s achievements in e-government, which include establishing the world’s first web-based electronic filing system in 1999. Mutual trust and ongoing cooperation between KIPO and the UAE in regard to IP-related matters also contributed to the closing of the deal.

KIPO and the UAE first began cooperating in the IP field back in February 2014, as the result of an MOU for cooperation on intellectual property rights. Additionally, KIPO seconded five patent examiners to the UAE and has been helping to process patent applications submitted there.

From July to December 2014, the System Consulting Project of Knowledge Sharing Program (KSP), which is launched by the Ministry of Strategy and Finance in 2013, for the purpose of sharing Korea’s development experiences, helped to further cement this deal by supporting the UAE MoE in analyzing the status of its IP automation and coming up with plans to implement a new system.

Given that many Middle Eastern countries recognize the need for improving the global IP system in order to prepare for the post-oil era, KIPO’s MOU with the UAE will be the first best practice in exporting Korea’s patent automation system throughout the entire region.

KIPO Commissioner Choi Donggyu stated that the export of Korea’s patent automation system is especially significant in light of the fact that past collaborations between the two economies were more focused on energy, resources, and construction rather than high value-added industries such as IP and e-government. Commissioner Choi went on to state that he hopes the exportation of Korea’s patent automation system continues to increase throughout the entire globe.